Come wintry December, darkness falls early and Rome starts to sparkle below.
Standing in the hilltop piazza with a glass of bubbles in hand (Bellavista Franciacorta Satèn) we toast the city in anticipation of what is to come.
Walking the empty halls of the Vatican, its magnificent scale and opulence are aweinspiring.
By night Raphael’s frescoes appear deeper in colour. On the painted stage above, philosophers triumph like epic heroes. Raphael’s art harnesses ideas and transforms them with beauty. It is humbling standing here under this private performance, a taste of Pope Julius II private moments of reflection.
As the doors to the Sistine Chapel open, look up, breathing in the incense as you take in the Creation of Adam. In such silence Michelangelo must have strained, hunched awkwardly beneath the ceiling, creating the iconic masterpiece five hundred years ago. Adam is drawn to the Divine in a tender gesture – his fingers so close to divinity but never to touch.
Losing oneself in thought, the noise of the world outside seems far away as the visit concludes, but the night is not over.
One of our favourite chefs, Anthony Genovese has created a sublime evening of tastes. It is a performance perfecting flavours that fuse the Orient with the best of Italy. The food smells every bit as good as it looks: seafood dumplings bathed in the most delicate fish consomm perfectly accompanied with wonderful Pinot Bianco from the South Tyrol – Italy’s Alsace.
Retiring to the hotel with anticipation and excitement of what is to come tomorrow: Buona notte!